GraceNotes – February 23, 2020
“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled…”
What God has done for us is absolutely amazing! We were enemies. We were enemies because of what our great-great-great-(keep going) grandparents had done. But we were also enemies because of what we had done. And it’s not a good thing to be an enemy of the God of the universe. He doesn’t play games and He can’t be defeated.
But, the beauty of this passage is exactly how Paul begins this verse – we “once” were enemies, “yet now” He changed that! We didn’t deserve a change. We deserved judgment and eternal punishment. But, God is merciful and gracious. And God punished His Son in our place in order to reconcile us to Him.
Rather than being His enemies, we are now His friends. And even better than that, we are His children! But, that’s not all God does for us. It is not enough for God to call us something different (enemies vs children). God wants to MAKE us something different. God’s salvation is a complete salvation, a whole salvation. He not only changes our position (sinner to saint) but he also changes our disposition (sinful to holy). He changes how we live.
The end result for us is that we not only are called saints, but we more and more start to live like saints! We not only are called holy, but we daily become more holy. We, as God’s children, start to LIVE like children of the King. And, no matter how much we slip and fall, God always picks us back up and restores us as we repent. He always welcomes us back onto the path of holiness and keeps us going in the right direction. In the end, He will receive all the glory as we receive all the blessings of a relationship that once was broken by our sin but now has been restored by His grace.
GraceNotes – October 27, 2019
Injustice seems to be rampant in our world. We have a long history of those who have power oppressing those who don’t. Nations rise and fall, and all of them are full of not only idolatry, but also greed, abuse, oppression, and injustice. Israel was no different. And God sent Amos to confront them for their sin and their refusal to repent. In so doing, God showed two major aspects of His character as the Judge of His Creation – He is both a just judge and, thankfully for us, a merciful judge
As we think through the 9 chapters of Amos, there is a LOT to digest. God takes Israel to task for their abuse of others, for their idolatrous religion and for their rejection of His Word. AND THESE WERE GOD’S PEOPLE!!!
It’s easy for us some times to look at these things and think, “Those terrible Israelites. How could they be so stupid?” But, I want you to slow down and look at your own life, not just our society, but your life. Are you guilty of the same types of things? Have you ignored injustice when you had an opportunity to change things? Have you felt superior to the beggar on the street corner when you could have helped instead? Have you pretended to be religious when your heart was far from God? Have you failed to pay attention to what God has to say in His Word when it makes you uncomfortable?
All of these things are probably true of most church members today. And God is a just judge. But, thankfully, God is also a merciful judge. He has poured out His just wrath on His Son in the place of all those who have believed in Him. When we repent (turn) from our sins and come to Him in faith, we are forgiven and welcomed by Him! There is grace for those under the righteous judgment of God!
So, as you go through this week and possibly contemplate the message of Amos, think about two things: 1) Thank God for His grace in forgiving those of us who, though guilty, have been covered by the blood of His Son. 2) Consider how you, as a forgiven sinner, should be as concerned for the plight of others as your God is. And what can you do about it? Go do it.
GraceNotes – June 2, 2019
In today’s sermon, Jesus focused on the immediate events surrounding His Second Coming. The primary event that He emphasized was the final judgment. Jesus is going to judge everyone who has ever lived that judgment will be ultimate.
At the judgment, you are in one of two groups. You are either called a sheep, and in that group because of the grace of God, or you are called a goat, and in that group because you are cursed for your rejection of God. The evidence that shows which group you are in is the way in which you treat others – your works.
It should be very obvious that we who claim the name of Christian should be marked by good works. We simply MUST have the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) as an active part of our lives. If we do not have these marks of the Christian, then we had better examine ourselves to see whether we really are Christian. In John, Jesus says, “By this will all men know that you are my disciples: by your love for one another.”
As you think through the sermon this week, look for evidence of the Spirit’s work in your life in how you serve others.
GraceNotes – May 26, 2019
In this week’s message, we looked at the parable from Matthew 25 about the master who went away and left some of his possessions with his servants to manage. The master represented Christ and the servants represented professed believers.
One of the lessons we drew from this parable was that we have each been given a variety of opportunities to serve God in His kingdom for the sake of His glory. The question we have to ask ourselves is, “what are we doing with what God has given us?” Are we investing in things that have eternal impact? Are we seeking to display our love for God by our sacrificial service of our fellow church members?
The challenge to us if we want to be “good and faithful servants” is to look outside of ourselves, consider others to be more important than us, and give of our time, abilities and possessions (all temporal things) in order to help others on their spiritual journey. What are you doing and how can we help?